Jun 21, 2019 by |

California and San Francisco Whistleblower and Tax Fraud Attorneys: IRS Whistleblower Program

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Internal Revenue Service Rewards Whistleblowers

Over $312 Million in IRS Whistleblower Rewards Paid Out in 2018

IRS Provides New Guidance on Whistleblower Process

2018 was a banner year for the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Whistleblower Program. During the year, the IRS made 217 awards to whistleblowers totaling over $312 million, an almost ten-fold increase over awards made in 2017. Whistleblowers may have original information regarding various types of tax avoidance schemes including offshore tax avoidance, abusive tax shelters, accounting fraud, and more.  If you have information regarding tax fraud, including offshore tax avoidance schemes and violations of foreign bank account reporting requirements, the California and San Francisco whistleblower/qui tam attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. know how to present your evidence to the IRS with the best chance for you to receive an eventual reward.  Call the whistleblower/qui tam attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. (415)441-8669, and we can help.

In May 2019 the IRS Whistleblower Office explained in greater detail[1] its evaluation process for whistleblower submissions and determination of awards:

  • A threshold requirement for any award under 26 U.S.C. §7623(b)(whistleblower awards) is that the information must lead to judicial or administrative action – an audit or investigation resulting in the collection of proceeds.
  • An analyst in the Whistleblower Office will consider the information provided by the whistleblower. The IRS has to decide that the case is worth pursuing.
  • In the case of a large corporate taxpayer whose returns are audited each year, an administrative action can mean the creation of a new issue under the Audit Plan or a change in the way information about an issue is collected or analyzed, which would not otherwise have occurred without the information provided by the whistleblower.
  • In other cases, an administrative action can mean placing a taxpayer under audit who was not already under audit.

The process may take several years but always begins with the whistleblower completing and filing IRS Form 211, the application for Award for Original Information. IRS Form 211 requires a whistleblower to:

  • state the facts pertinent to the alleged violation;
  • explain why the act constitutes a violation of the tax laws;
  • describe how he or she learned of or obtained the information that supports the claim; and
  • describe the amount owed by the alleged violator. 

Our lawyers can assist whistleblowers in preparing IRS Form 211 and accompanying documents. We know how to advance your case through application, investigation, and administrative and/or judicial review to the end of obtaining an award for your information. Our attorneys can represent you against employers who retaliate against you for blowing the whistle on fraud.  Although the IRS whistleblower program does not provide specific anti-retaliatory provisions, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) protects employees of SOX-covered companies from retaliation for blowing the whistle based on a reasonable belief of mail fraud, wire fraud, and violations of federal law relating to fraud against shareholders, among other categories. Courts have extended those protections to IRS whistleblowers.  See, e.g., Vannoy v. Celanese Corp., ALJ Case No. 2008-SOX-00064, ARB Case No. 09-118 (ALJ July 24, 2013) (finding that IRS whistleblower’s removal of confidential company data to support his whistleblower complaints constituted protected activity under SOX).  

Contact Us

If you have information regarding offshore tax avoidance schemes, violations of foreign bank account reporting requirements, abusive tax shelters, or other tax fraud contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other IRS whistleblower and tax fraud attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Our whistleblower attorneys also handle cases involving bank fraud under FIRREA/FIAFEA, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program, the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, False Claims Act cases, the FINRA Whistleblower Office and the California False Claims Act. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement.  We also handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.

 

[1] You can read the newly published IRS webpage “What Happens to a Claim for an Informant Award (Whistleblower)” here: https://www.irs.gov/compliance/what-happens-to-a-claim-for-an-informant-award-whistleblower.

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